5 Steps to Being Cautious While Still Taking Life’s Chances

 In the arena of finance, risk is inherent.  Think about the risks you take everyday. When it comes to investment expectations there is always the risk that the outcome will be different than anticipated. When it comes to the income your family depends upon, there is always the risk of job loss. When it comes to budgeting, there is always the risk of inflation, which could leave you without enough to keep up with the rising cost of things around you. When it comes to your family, there is always the risk that someone could face a health challenge or a long-term illness.

Learning About Risk

After 25 years working with people, I have seen families lose children and grandchildren to tragedy.  I have witnessed divorce and marriage and have seen first-hand financial windfall and destruction. Helping clients through all this has helped me gain a better understanding of risk tolerance and realize that risk preferences vary greatly.  Most people want to avoid risk as much as possible, but many have to learn that the hard way.  Remember your first loss? The big one? How did it affect you? If it was truly the big one, then it made you sit up and take notice.  It left an impression on you and your decisions.  And it may have given you a deeper understanding of what risk really means. 

5 Steps to Managing Risk

Despite the fact that we all must learn to live with risk, there are steps we can take to help mitigate the downside when it comes to financial planning:

  1. Diversification, asset allocation and rebalancing: While this won’t make you rich quick, it should help reduce overall portfolio volatility. 
  2. Insurance: For a relatively small cost you can provide for the safety of a young and growing family for many years and provide protection in case of premature death or disability. 
  3. Emergency Funds: Always maintain the appropriate emergency balance for your situation.  A simple rule of thumb is 3-6 months of expenses. Then you may want to consider choosing investments that are marketable and liquid for your taxable portfolios.  
  4. Long-term Care Insurance: To avoid a catastrophic financial blow if a spouse develops a long-term illness and needs expensive health assistance, consider long-term care insurance when you’re in your late 50s. 
  5. Estate Planning:  By taking just a few minutes to write out a plan, there’s a better chance of things happening as you wish. Write a holographic will (handwritten and signed) or go to your state website and pull off the appropriate documents (like wills, powers of attorney, patient advocate designations, etc.). Complete them or set up a meeting with an estate planning attorney to help you with this process. 

If you need help getting started with any of these steps or making a personal plan to help you prepare for life’s inherent risks, contact me at matthew.chope@centerfinplan.com.

Matthew E. Chope, CFP ® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Matt has been quoted in various investment professional newspapers and magazines. He is active in the community and his profession and helps local corporations and nonprofits in the areas of strategic planning and money and business management decisions. In 2012 and 2013, Matt was named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine.


Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.

Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute investment advice. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protection against loss. Rebalancing a non-retirement account could be a taxable event that may increase your tax liability. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. C14-005525